Capital Punishment On Trial

Capital Punishment on Trial

Capital Punishment is an issue that has been argued over from the dinner table in
the average American home the the oval office in the White House for countless amounts
of years. The opposing sides each state their claim on why we should, or shouldn't allow
the death penalty to be administered to those criminals who the courts believe should be
killed. Each argument has very valid reasons on why the death penalty is right and wrong,
and they both have convincing points to prove their argument. The social problems within
capital punishment vary from it being morally right or wrong, humane or inhumane, to the
excessive time and money that is spent during appeals and stays of execution. This paper
will focus on the problem of the justice system, and why we should and should not grant
numerous appeals and stays of execution.
Capital Punishment has been around since the days of Christ, and its results have
not changed, only the way capital punishment is administered has. States such as
California use the gas chamber as the means to end the convict's life, while Texas and
Florida have used the electric chair in the past, the remedy for death is now by using
leatheal injection to end the convicts life. Death has always been used as a way to deter
criminals from engaging in criminal activity. In the days of the old west, a man would be
hung if he was caught stealing another mans horse, and during the Cold War, death would
be handed down if you were convicted of treason against your country in many of the
nations involved. Today though, the death penalty is given in a selected amount of murder
cases where the jury or judge feels that it is the only way to go about giving the murderer a
just sentence, and that life in prison sentence would be to lenient. In 1995, prison
authorities saw the largest number of state mandated killings since 1957, and with more
that 3,000 inmates on death row in this country, and several legislative moves to cut the
appeals process, a execution boom seems imminent (Bruderhof 1996).
Pain. Anger. Frustration. Hatred. These feeble words do not describe the anguish
felt by the families of murder victims. Ted Bundy was responsible for the deaths of more
than fifty young women across the United States (Lamar 34). Bundy was finally sentenced
to death by the state of Florida in 1978 after being convicted for the kidnapping and brutal
murder of a 12 year old girl and the deaths of two Florida State sorority sisters. As if the
loss of a loved one is not enough for a family to deal with, Bundy remained on death row
for nearly ten years. Three stays of execution and endless appeals kept Bundy alive for
almost a decade, when his victims lives were untimely and viciously taken from them
(Lamar 34). Many in fovor of the death penalty feel that if a sentence of death is handed
down, then it should be enforced immediately, not as a question of morality, but simply as
an act of justice.
The death penalty already exists in thirty six states, and given its existence it should
be enforced. The problem that arises within the criminal justice system as it is currently
written in the law books is where part of this social problem arises. Since the United
States Supreme Court reinstated the death Penalty in 1976, thirty six states have legislated
capital punishment statutes (Capital Punishment 1992). All but thirteen states and the
District of Columbia have the death penalty as a sentencing option, including Alaska,
Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota,
Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin (Norman 1). Since capital
punishment is already in existence, the problem is that it is not enforced. This lack of
enforcement translated into inefficient functioning of the criminal justice system, which
begins to be looked at as a social problem. If the criminal justice system cant enforce its
own laws, the what will make the hardened criminal believe that he is in danger of getting
caught and convicted. This shows a weakness in a